The team are known by their fans as "The Bluebirds", owing to their blue and white kit. Attendances vary - the record of 16,874 was set against Swansea City in the FA Cup Third Round in 1954 - but during the 1990s and 2000s the average has remained consistently between 800 and 1,100. The 2007-08 average attendance was 1,084.
Barrow remained in the lowest tier of the Football League pyramid for all but three seasons. During this time, they remained relatively obscure, only occasionally coming to national attention. Their F.A. Cup Third Round game against the then Football League champions Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1958-59 season is particularly notable.
After finishing third in Division 4 in the 1966-67 season and gaining promotion, Barrow enjoyed their highest ever league finish in the 1967-68 season, ending up eighth in Division 3, with the club briefly leading the table.
Barrow remained in the third flight of English football for another two season before returning to the basement in 1970. In 1972, Barrow were voted out of the Football League, in favour of Hereford United, and joined the Northern Premier League. They later became founder members of the Football Conference (then known as the Alliance Premier League), the only national division in non-league football. After this, Barrow spent periods of time in both the Football Conference and the Northern Premier League.
Barrow eventually won promotion back to the re-named Vauxhall Conference in 1988-1989, finishing champions of the Northern Premier. Barrow achieved two respectable finishes in the Conference - 10th in 1989-1990 and 14th the season after. Unfortunately Wilkie was forced to step down during the 1991-1992 due to health problems. That season Barrow would be relegated back to the Northern Premier League.
As well as league success, Wilkie brought glory on the cup trail. In 1988, Barrow reached the FA Trophy semi-final, losing to Enfield after a replay. The first leg at Holker Street attracted 6,002 supporters - still a non-league record for the club. The season after, Barrow reached the 1st round of the FA Cup, losing out 3-1 at Rotherham's Millmoor. In early 1991, Barrow reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup, losing 1-0 away to Third Division high fliers Bolton Wanderers, watched by thousands of travelling supporters.
In 1990 they won non-league football's most prestigious competition, the FA Trophy, beating Leek Town 3-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium, London. Scoring the first and third goals was Kenny Gordon, a player who was not normally found on the score sheet, and who was playing his final game for his hometown club before emigrating to Australia.
Wilkie's successes can partly be attributed to getting the best out of striker Colin Cowperthwaite, who had been at the club since 1977. He scored the second goal in the FA Trophy final, but Colin had already become a legendary player at Holker Street, finishing as top scorer in each of Wilkie's five full seasons - as well as seven of the previous eight. His goalscoring exploits were coupled with a no-nonsense approach to playing the game and "Cowps" became the quintissential target man. Colin is still highly regarded at Holker Street, winning a recent poll to find Barrow supporter's favourite player in the non-league era. Cowperthwaite holds Barrow's all-time appearance record (705) and is the club's all-time leading goalscorer (282)
In April 2004, Barrow defeated local rivals Workington A.F.C. in a two-legged final in the UniBond Presidents (League) Cup. The game finished 6-6 on aggregate, Barrow winning on away goals. In 2004-2005, Barrow AFC became founder members of yet another division, this time the Conference North.
The following two seasons Barrow showed poor form in the league, narrowly escaping relegation at the end of 2006–07. Compounding this was the jailing of defender James Cotterill for an assault committed on the pitch. In a First Round FA Cup game Cotterill punched Bristol Rovers striker Sean Rigg, the incident being missed by the referee but caught by the Match of the Day cameras, resulting in Cotterill being the only English player in recent history to be jailed for an offence on the pitch.
On 12 November 2007, after two years in the job, Phil Wilson was dismissed as manager. Although the sacking came two days after a good 1-1 draw in the FA Cup First Round against A.F.C. Bournemouth, it was the club's poor league form which cost the manager his job. Barrow's first team affairs are currently in the hands of David Bayliss and Darren Sheridan who have been appointed as the new management team. They led Barrow from 20th place to 5th, ensuring a place in the play offs for promotion to the Conference National. Barrow won the semi-final against A.F.C. Telford United 4–0 on aggregate, before beating Stalybridge Celtic in the playoff final, held at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton upon Trent.
As of 5th July, 2008. Only league matches are counted.
|Jacob Fletcher||July 1901||April 1904||78||33||15||30||146||135||42.31%|
|E. Freeland||April 1904||????||?||?||?||?||?||?||?|
|Roger Charnley||May 1907||????||?||?||?||?||?||?||?|
|Jacob Fletcher||????||September 1909||?||?||?||?||?||?||?|
|Jas P. Phillips||September 1909||????||?||?||?||?||?||?||?|
|John Parker||July 1913||July 1920||114||55||16||43||232||197||48.25%|
|William Dickinson||July 1920||May 1922||72||37||11||24||121||82||51.39%|
|Jimmy Atkinson||August 1922||March 1923||30||11||4||15||44||43||36.67%|
|J.E. Moralee||April 1923||January 1926||112||29||18||65||121||217||25.89%|
|Robert Greenhalgh||January 1926||February 1926||2||0||0||2||3||7||0%|
|William Dickinson||February 1926||October 1927||67||12||12||43||61||182||17.91%|
|John S. Maconnachie||October 1927||December 1928||52||12||15||25||70||116||23.08%|
|Andrew Walker||January 1929||June 1930||62||16||7||39||74||142||25.81%|
|Thomas Miller||June 1930||November 1930||16||3||3||10||17||39||18.75%|
|John Commins||November 1930||May 1932||65||36||5||24||137||96||55.38%|
|Thomas Lowe||May 1932||April 1937||204||73||47||84||351||378||35.78%|
|James Y. Bissett||April 1937||December 1937||19||4||2||13||14||36||21.05%|
|Fred E. Pentland||January 1938||June 1940||84||29||23||32||146||149||34.52%|
|John Commins||August 1945||March 1947||54||17||10||27||71||104||31.48%|
|Andrew Beattie||March 1947||April 1949||95||36||26||33||106||95||37.89%|
|Jack Hacking||May 1949||May 1955||272||96||57||119||363||421||35.29%|
|Joe Harvey||July 1955||June 1957||92||33||18||41||137||145||35.87%|
|Norman Dodgin||July 1957||May 1958||46||13||15||18||66||74||28.26%|
|Bill Brown||July 1958||August 1959||46||9||10||27||51||104||19.57%|
|Bill Rogers||August 1959||October 1959||15||3||5||7||24||37||20%|
|Ron Staniforth||October 1959||July 1964||213||67||61||85||312||360||31.46%|
|Don McEvoy||July 1964||July 1967||138||52||32||54||207||235||37.68%|
|Colin Appleton||August 1967||January 1969||70||32||13||25||103||90||45.71%|
|Fred Else||January 1969||February 1969||5||0||1||4||2||14||0%|
|Norman Bodell||March 1969||February 1970||46||9||11||27||38||82||19.57%|
|Don McEvoy||February 1970||November 1971||78||15||18||45||88||142||19.23%|
|Bill Rogers||November 1971||November 1971||2||0||1||1||2||3||0%|
|Jack Crompton||December 1971||June 1972||28||10||5||13||25||40||35.71%|
|Peter Kane||July 1972||June 1974||92||25||13||54||98||195||27.17%|
|Brian Arrowsmith||July 1974||November 1975||67||12||18||37||61||115||17.91%|
|Ron Yeats||December 1975||February 1977||46||15||8||23||61||90||32.61%|
|Alan Coglan and Billy McAdams||February 1977||July 1977||21||5||3||13||26||38||23.81%|
|David Hughes||July 1977||July 1977||0||0||0||0||0||0||0%|
|Brian McManus||July 1977||November 1979||103||31||23||49||115||161||30.10%|
|Micky Taylor||November 1979||May 1983||147||52||35||60||192||206||35.37%|
|Vic Halom||July 1983||May 1984||42||29||10||3||92||38||69.05%|
|Peter McDonnell||July 1984||November 1984||17||5||9||3||27||21||29.41%|
|Joe Wojciechowicz||November 1984||December 1984||1||0||0||1||1||3||0%|
|Brian Kidd||December 1984||April 1985||19||5||6||8||14||20||26.32%|
|John Cooke||April 1985||April 1985||3||1||0||2||3||9||33.33%|
|Bob Murphy||April 1985||May 1985||2||0||1||1||2||4||0%|
|Maurice Whittle||May 1985||October 1985||12||0||4||8||11||29||0%|
|David Johnson||October 1985||March 1985||16||5||2||9||13||28||31.25%|
|Glenn Skivington and Neil McDonald||March 1986||March 1986||4||0||0||4||4||10||0%|
|Ray Wilkie||March 1986||November 1991||236||93||62||81||325||311||39.41%|
|Neil McDonald||November 1991||December 1991||4||1||0||3||7||9||25%|
|John King||December 1991||May 1992||22||5||6||11||24||36||22.73%|
|Graham Heathcote||May 1992||December 1992||23||10||7||6||40||31||43.48%|
|Richard Dinnis||December 1992||October 1993||30||12||6||12||45||40||40%|
|Mick Cloudsdale||October 1993||June 1994||31||14||8||9||45||35||45.16%|
|Tony Hesketh||June 1994||March 1996||74||32||16||26||121||101||43.24%|
|Neil McDonald and Franny Ventre||March 1996||March 1996||2||0||0||2||3||6||0%|
|Mike Walsh||March 1996||October 1996||20||11||5||4||32||20||55%|
|Owen Brown||October 1996||January 1999||100||49||22||29||127||95||49%|
|Shane Westley||January 1999||July 1999||16||4||4||8||13||22||25%|
|Greg Challender||July 1999||August 1999||0||0||0||0||0||0||0%|
|Kenny Lowe||August 1999||May 2003||176||78||46||52||307||233||44.32%|
|Lee Turnbull||May 2003||November 2005||102||41||28||33||164||146||40.20%|
|Darren Edmondson||November 2005||December 2005||3||1||2||0||5||3||33.33%|
|Phil Wilson||December 2005||November 2007||78||20||24||34||85||100||25.64%|
|Darren Sheridan and David Bayliss||November 2007||Present||32||22||8||2||62||21||68.75%|